President Barack Obama officially unveiled his immigration plan Thursday night, saying he will use an executive order to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Here are excerpts from statements from some members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation. All expressed opposition.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe
“President Obama’s amnesty plan flies in the face of the American people and their vote this last election cycle when the President put his policies on the ballot, including immigration. Instead of coming to the table to discuss Republicans’ concerns with the immigration crisis at our southern border, the President stated tonight that he plans to take action without Congressional oversight.
“If the President finds a law problematic, he must work with Congress to change the law. He does not have the constitutional authority to unilaterally declare that a law should not apply to millions in America. But that is what he did tonight when he announced plans to give roughly 5 million illegal immigrants amnesty … I have long supported and fought for those who dreamed about making a better life in the United States for themselves and their families through the proper, legal process, but I will continue to oppose and join efforts to prevent the President’s executive amnesty.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, District 4
“I am amazed that the president insists on going ahead with action that he has said, on multiple occasions, he would not and could not constitutionally take. I am deeply disappointed that the president refuses to work with lawmakers who represent the beliefs of the American people.
“Without question, decisions on such controversial issues as immigration should be carried out by working together in a bipartisan manner, including the president seeking congressional oversight and approval. Instead, the president is unfortunately taking the go-it-alone approach and complicating the future of real immigration reform in the process … In the days and months ahead, I hope that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will engage in discussion on the immigration issue, restore order to the legislative process and rein in White House overreach.”
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, District 5
‘The President is trying to illegally legalize illegal individuals. This declaration crosses the line into legal gymnastics. Many times over the past six years, the President has stated immigration must be resolved in law, not in Executive Action. He was right. Now, because the political negotiations are growing more difficult, the President has punted his previous stand on the law and has invented a new Executive ability to act when Congress does not pass a bill on his time-table.
“The Constitution is clear and the courts have affirmed that the President cannot invent new policy for millions of people. We are a nation of laws … The President’s Executive Action gives temporary recognition to millions of people and certain uncertainty two years from now for the same people.”
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, District 3
“Rather than working with Congress on the issue of immigration, President Obama has declared amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. The president’s brazen use of executive action to bypass our nation’s immigration laws threatens the sanctity of our border, does nothing to stem the growing tide of illegal immigration and delays the prospect of fixing our legal immigration system.
“The president’s single-minded approach on immigration will not work, and he must remember that it is his constitutional duty to implement, not write, the law. If he is serious about immigration reform, President Obama must first work with Congress to secure the border and enforce, rather than ignore, our nation’s laws,” said Congressman Lucas.
U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, District 1
“His executive amnesty is illegal, unfair, costly, and dangerous because it will spur a wave of further illegal immigration. It’s illegal and unconstitutional for the President to usurp legislative power clearly delegated to Congress … It’s unfair to millions of legal immigrants that have played by the rules, and it’s unfair to the American workforce as labor rates will decline … It’s dangerous because amnesty encourages further illegal immigration facilitated by our unsecure border.
“How should Congress respond to Obama’s illegal executive amnesty? Congress should exercise the power of the purse to withhold funding necessary to implement the President’s amnesty.”